Tourism and Sustainable Development

Published: 26th February 2010
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Introduction

The Tourism industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the global market economy, the developing countries have been attempting to gain on tourism industry in an effort to try and increase their foreign investment together with financial reserves to improve their economy. Whereas accepting that the unrestrained increase of tourism industry may lead in grim environmental and also social issues, the UN has asserted that these negative outcomes may be managed and decreased. Observing that "tourism needs to be more sustainable", World Tourism Organization (2007). In the recent past the issue of sustainable tourism has continued to attract more attention. The question is being debated is whether the tourism industry thus, can be driven towards being sustainable in the present prevailing global and political regimes which emphasizes the competition and globalization in the industry.



To address this subject: Tourism and Sustainable Development, the study paper will carry on, along the following field: tourism will be explained for reasons of theoretical clarity; importance of tourism will be highlighted, types of tourism will be stated and sustainable tourism the centre of the paper, will be discussed at length; and lastly "the way forward" in terms of a conclusion will be provided



What is tourism?

Tourism entails traveling for mainly recreational or relaxation reasons, or the providing services in order of supporting this recreational travel. According to the World Tourism Organization tourists are individuals who "travel to and reside in locations outside their customary environment for less than one successive year for vacation, business and other reasons not associated to the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the place visited". Currently tourism is a very popular worldwide recreational activity for many people. Statistics indicates that in the year 2006, more than 842 million global tourist visits were reported (World Tourism Organization, 2007)



In addition Milne (1998) described tourism as being the total summation of the phenomenon and relations emanating from traveling and staying of non-residents, as far as the non-residents don't permanently reside in the area they are visiting and are not associated with income generating activities. Where in1981, the International Association of Scientific Experts in Tourism gave a definition of Tourism, as specific activities chosen by preference and done away from the home location (Milne, 1998)



Importance of tourism industry

Tourism industry is crucial for a lot of countries, owing to the huge income of cash for brought through businesses between the country and the visiting tourists by buying their products and also services, the employment opportunities the industry creates in the service tourism industry and related service industries. The service industries comprise transportation and communication services for example cruise ships, accommodation services for instance hotels and lodges, entertainment activities, and more hospitality industry activities for example resorts



Types of tourism

According to the classification given by the United Nations, there are three main categories of tourism these are:

1. Domestic tourism; which entails inhabitants of a particular country traveling just within that country

2. Inbound tourism; entails non-residents people traveling in a particular country

3. Outbound tourism; entails residents visiting in a different country (McKercher,1993)

Lately, there has been a shift in the tourism industry where by operators of the industry are shifting from promoting inbound tourism to promoting intrabound tourism since numerous countries are currently experiencing harsh competition in relations to inbound tourism.



Sustainable tourism

There are several diverse definitions regarding sustainable tourism, however, sustainable tourism can be defined as an industry that endeavours to create a less effect upon the natural environment as well as the local or domestic culture, whilst assisting to create earnings and employment opportunities for local people, and also promoting the protection of the ecosystems in the local area. Sustainable tourism is a kind of responsible tourism that is ecologically and also culturally responsive Britton (1991).



International economists predict a continuing global tourism increase, varying from three to six percent yearly which depends on the region. Tourism industry being among the world's biggest and highly increasing industries, the continuous increase will put a lot of pressure on existing biologically varied habitats that are frequently used in supporting mass tourism where they are found. Tourists who are promoting sustainable tourism are conscious of these risks and look for protecting the tourist destinations they visit and protecting the tourism industry. These tourists undergo a lot of responsibilities in reducing the effect of tourism on biodiversity and the communities, which includes:



• Getting informed of cultural aspects, political system, and the economy of communities that being visited

• Predicting and respecting the local culture assumptions and expectations

• Making a Contribution to the intercultural appreciative and tolerance

• Giving Support to integrity of the local culture through supporting businesses that conserve the cultural heritage

• Giving Support to the local economies through buying local product and taking part in small, local trade

• Conserving resources available by looking for businesses which are environmentally mindful, and through using the slightest possible quantity of non-renewable products



The local communities have huge responsibilities to undertake in sustainable tourism as well. Sustainable tourism entails local communities have an active participation and taking accountability in this tourism industry. For instance, locals can vend their local handicrafts to the tourists or merely chat with tourists so as to offer the tourist a genuine picture of their local culture which they practice.

What Sustainable Tourism entails

It's informative: Tourists not only discover about the destination their visit, they also find out how to assist sustain the destination whilst enjoying their own visiting experiences. Locals find out that the common and familiar features are of interest and significance to the outsiders (tourist).



Supports integrity of the location: Destination-savvy tourists try to find out businesses which highlight the nature of the locals in relation to heritage, cuisine, aesthetics, architecture and ecology; Tourism earnings in return lift locals' perceived worth of those resources.



It benefits locals; tourist businesses try hard to offer employment and training to the local community, purchase local products, and utilize local based services.



It conserves local resources; environmentally conscious tourists support businesses which lessen energy consumption, pollution, water usage, waste, landscaping chemicals, and needless night-time lighting.



It respects the local culture and custom: Foreign tourists study and also examine local custom, including the use of a small number of courtesy phrases using the local community language; locals get to know how to tackle foreign expectations which might be different from what they possess.



Does not misuse its product; Stakeholders predict expansion strains and use limitations and management procedures to avert the "prized to death" condition. Business people collaborate in sustaining the natural habitations, heritage spots, scenic appealing sites, and the local culture of the community.



It endeavours for quality but not quantity; Communities evaluate tourism achievement not through the absolute numbers of tourists, but through the duration of their stay, cash spent by the tourists, and the quality of their experience.



It means grand trips; satisfied, thrilled tourists bring back new understanding to their homes and send off friends to enjoy the same aspect; which offers continuous business for the tourist destination. (Drake, 1991)



Tourism activities

Tourist activities the way they are usually defined in the industry, basically entails transportation and also hosting of tourists within local communities that is tourist destinations, whereby, tourist products are utilized. None other industry has such a structure where the consumers go where the products are instead of the products being moved to the consumer in his/her own locality. This unique tourism industry structure brings around also a distinctive social effects upon the local community where the tourists visits, which includes but not limited to disruption of the local community culture, customs and lifestyle, spread of diseases which are infectious, modifications in the local demographics and also changes in the local housing as well as labour market.



The main product of the tourism industry is not a product that is created by the tourism industry; rather in many times it is the heritage, legacy and wealth of the local community which serves as a tourist attraction. The main business activity in the industry is promoting the appealing features of the local community, move visitors into the local community handle hospitality and direct the activities of the visiting tourists, and offer the tourists products and services to buy in the course of their stay in the community. If in any case these business activities are degrading the local community's wealth and heritage the that community will suffer more directly compared to the consumer (tourist), who in case will return back to his/her own community with no accountability or awareness of negative impacts of his/her tourist activities undertaken. (Drake, 1991)



Tourist activities could possibly specifically, degrade social and the natural wealth of a given local community. The invasion of huge numbers of foreigners who are not informed into a local social system can easily undermine the pre-existing social values and relationships. To address these issues new concept and model have been formulated to being about sustainable tourism.

We are going to examine three of these new concepts which are;

1. Ecotourism

2. Coastal tourism

3. Community participation tourism



Ecotourism

Ecotourism is defined as conscientious tour to natural regions which preserves environment and also sustains the interests of local community. At times it is also defined as a sustainable tourism sub-group or a subdivision of the bigger nature tourism industry. It comprises a learning/ interpretation experience that is conveyed to small groupings of tourist by small-size businesses, and emphasizes local community ownership, mainly for rural community. (Drake, 1991)



Heather Robinson (2006) defines Ecotourism as a division of sustainable tourism which differs with other divisions through its focusing on the ecology. Ecotourism is seen as sustainable tourism which makes contributions to the conservation and protection of natural as well as cultural inheritance of the local community; this is achieved through involving the local and native communities in planning, operation, development of the ecotourism activities to make a contribution to the local community welfare;



In other words ecotourism implies whereas practicing any sort of tourism category, individual must not damage nature in any way. For today's rapid changing world and increasing tourism, ecotourism provides an effective ways through which individuals can protect nature from adverse effects of rapidly growing industry, which is creating a very polluting environment, by respecting Natural world and its rules, thus it is anticipated that the ecosystem can then be maintained, permitting future tourism with no natural resources being worn out as rapidly. (Drake, 1991)



What ecotourism entails

Ecotourism offers local benefits to the local community in terms of; environmentally, economically and culturally. An eco-tourist will go bird watching using a native guide, resides in locally managed eco-lodge and makes contribution to the local community economy.



How does Sustainable Tourism get in?

Sustainable Tourism entails each of the sectors of the tourism industry with directives and criterion which seek in reducing the environmental effects, specifically the using of non-renewable sources, the use of assessable benchmarks, as well as to improving tourism's input to sustainable development plus environmental conservation.



Sustainable Ecotourism

• Reduces environmental impacts through the use of benchmarks

• Improves contributions to local community sustainable development

• Requires smallest possible use of non-renewable resources

• Sustains the welfare of local community

• Emphasizes local community ownership

• Supports attempts to conserve and protect the environment

• Makes a Contribution to the biodiversity

Analysing ecotourism

However, McHarry and Gardiner (2002) states that, a lot of eco-tourism arguments regarding its benefits seem to be exaggerated, or are indebted a lot to the labelling and also marketing of ecotourism than actual sustainability. In many cases it has been observed that many of ecotourism projects are continually planned and implemented without local community approval and their support, yet these projects frequently threaten the local social aspects and cultures, their economies, and the natural resource base. McHarry and Gardiner (2002) regard ecotourism as an "eco-fa├žade": an approach covering up the conventional tourism industry's exploitative and consumptive practices through "greening" it.



Of specific apprehension is the circumventing of critical questions regarding the promoting of ecotourism, concerning global economy, important political and social issues for example the misdistribution of resources; inequalities within political representation as well as power; and the increase of unsustainable utilization patterns are either ignored or marginalised.



Shackley (1998) observes that diverse social and also economic activities of the local community are substituted by ecotourism monoculture in a locality. Contrary to arguments that the local community benefits, the local community do not essentially benefit from the ecotourism activities, Tourism- interrelated employment opportunities is very much overrated. Locals are normally left to do low-paying jobs for example porters, tour guides and souvenir vendors or food vendors. More so, the locals are not guaranteed of full-year employment since they might be out of a job during the off-peak season. A large amount of money, just like in conventional tourism, goes to foreign airlines operators, the tourism operators and private developers and not the local community.



Coastal tourism

Lots of coastal regions are currently experiencing particular strain from the sea change development in standard of livings and increasing tourists who keep on visiting these areas. Coastal surroundings are restricted in size consisting of merely a narrow coastal strip alongside the perimeter of the oceans. Coastal regions are frequently the very first surroundings to undergo the damaging effects of tourism. Good planning and also management controls could possibly decrease the negative effect on the coastal environments, and make sure that the investment in tourism ventures enhances sustainable coastal tourism. (Drake, 1991)



Investment in proper infrastructure of coastal tourism can as well help the coastal environments to support bigger numbers of locals and also tourists. Cases are such as paved walkways which support big numbers of the coastal tourists. An equal number of tourists visiting an underdeveloped coastline probably would sense a lot more crowded, thus damage susceptible coastal environment. Another example of infrastructure which gives support to the natural carrying capacity the environment in supporting tourist and local lifestyles is Beach nourishment (Drake, 1991)



Thus the aim of sustainable coastal tourism development should be:

• Recognizing the economic worth of present coastal ecosystem, heritage sites and towns through offering opportunities for local income generating through using controlled tourist utilization of these regions.

• Formulate tourism development programs in cooperation with other local stakeholders to be suitable to distinct social and ecological features of each one of the coastal site.

• Use the tourism investment in developing and upgrading the watershed, waste water management and solid waste systems of coastal regions.



Analysing sustainable coastal tourism

The foremost important step in coastal sustainable management of the local costal regions by a government at each level, needs to be working in collaboration with he private organisations and investors, the government should establish selected coastal parts where future development will forever be restricted. Protecting these parts must be strictly enforced. In parts where development can be environmentally and socially justified, then tourism development ought to be built as a model of low-impact economical activity in relation to some other development option.



However McKercher (1993) observes that the viability of coastal sustainable tourism conception will depend on how well management objectives are defined and implemented for each specific coastal region. He further notes that these objectives must clearly select culturally/socially and ecologically areas and also high risk regions. Proper tourism activities must be selected for each particular are in accordance to the degree of sensitivity and the risk involved. More so education programs need to be established informing tourists of these management goals and objectives.





Community-based tourism management

In particular cases the local community has been involved in promoting sustainable tourism practice through getting involved in the management of the tourist locations. This kind of tourism is founded on the basis that the individuals living besides a resource have the best interest of this resource and thus are best suitable for protecting the resource. This implies that tourism activities as well as businesses are formulated and managed by the community members and definitely with their approval and also support. (Brohman, 1996)



Sustainable tourism normally entails the preservation of resources which are capitalized on for tourism objectives, for example coral reefs and pure forests. Local community manage the tourist businesses and become accountable for promotion of the preservation messages to conserve their local environment. (Brohman, 1996)



The Community based sustainable tourism, links the success of sustainability of ecotourism site to management performances of the local communities which are indirectly or directly dependent upon the site for their livings.



An outstanding attribute of Community based sustainable tourism is that, local know-how is usually utilised along with broad general structures of the ecotourism business concepts. This permits participation of the local community at the managerial level and normally permits a much more close perceptive of the local environment. Using the local know-how also implies a simpler admission level into the industry for the locals whose livelihoods or jobs are affected through the using their surroundings as tourism sites. The participation of local community bring back the possession of their environment back to local community and permits an different sustainable type of growth for the communities as well as their environments which are usually not capable of supporting other types of growth and development. (Brohman, 1996)



Analysis of community based tourism

The notion of community based tourism development might be extremely romanticized taking in mind the basic inequalities which are found among societies. (Taylor 1995) As tourism grows in within a local area, the already diverse local community may find its structures developing in new manners, with different groups of the community showing varied responses against the tourism development in the location. The tourist destination area is therefore showing an "open-structure" of co-dependent, numerous stakeholders, whereby the acts of one stakeholder effects the rest players in the local community. In addition, no particular institute or person can apply exclusive management over the tourist destination's growth and development course (Acott et al, 1998)



Instead of relying on disagreement to work within this different range of interests many analysts suggest that stakeholders take on a mutual approach (Acott et al, 1998). This compromise-based tourism activity planning leads to a shared planned vision and needs the community, the industry and the environmental interest groups to be aware of their own interdependence and also to appreciate each one's perspectives.



A lot of community tourism literature has mainly ignored the level to which the community perceptions entwine with and how they can be passed on both public and private sectors. Community tourism needs to be focused on the inter-related character of the community, the business and also government in a community setting. In addition it is essential to develop suitable and innovative instruments to help in facilitation of communication of appropriate information in and among communities, as well as to the industry developers and planners who determines the course of sustainable tourism industry growth and development. (Shackley, 1998)



Conclusion

Tourism is currently recognized as a global industry which is highly growing at a high rate, and like any industry that grows rapidly, the activities of tourism can have a substantial impact on the local development processes. The local effects of the industry are varied and usually distinctive to the industry. Sustainable tourism endeavours to create a less impact on the natural environment as well as the local culture and social life, whilst supporting to create earnings and employment opportunities for local community and promoting the conservation of the ecosystems in the local area. There are three main models of sustainable tourism which are ecotourism, coastal tourism and community base tourism. The main aspect in all these models is to enhance sustainable tourism through giving priority to the local community environment, social life and cultural aspects. However, at times these objectives have not been able to be achieved.



Reference:

Acott T. G, et al (1998): An Evolution of Deep Ecotourism and Shallow Ecotourism Journal of Sustainable Tourism 6 (3): 238 - 252.



Britton, S.G. (1991): Tourism, capital and place: towards a critical geography of tourism. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 9, 451-478.





Brohman, J (1996): New directions in tourism for third world development, Annals of Tourism Research 23 (1), 48-70.





Drake, S. (1991): Local participation in ecotourism projects, in Whelan, T. (ed.), Nature Tourism: managing for the environment, Washington D.C: Island Press, 132-163.



McHarry J and Gardiner R (2002): Economic Briefing; Sustainable Tourism Briefing Paper: UNEP, Stakeholder Forum's Towards Earth Summit 2002



McKercher, B. (1993): Some Fundamental Truths about Tourism; Understanding Tourism's Social and Environmental Impacts Journal of Sustainable Tourism, Vol 1







Milne, S (1998): Tourism and Sustainable Development: The Global-Local Nexus. In: Hall, C.M. and Lew, A.A. (eds.): Sustainable Tourism: A Geographical Perspective, Longman: UK.





Shackley, M (1998): Visitor Management: A Strategic Focus. Focal Press, London



Taylor, G (1995): The Community Approach: does it really work? Tourism Management 16(7),





World Tourism Organization (2007): World Tourism Barometer




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